Some paradoxes of prosodic research and what these may suggest about speech as multimodal communication

  • Horst Arndt
  • Richard W. Janney


A comparison of conflicting standpoints in prosodic research during the past few decade shows that linguists continue to disagree about how prosody should be approached as a subject of study and about where prosodic analysis ought to fit into linguistic theory and language teaching. Several basic issues remain unresolved: e.g., is prosody an observational or introspective fact of speech, is it cognitively or emotionally motivated, is it a sub-system of language or an independent vocal system in its own right? Paradoxes of pros-· odic research in these and other areas suggest that discovering what and how prosodic activities communicate may be a necessary prerequisite for further investigating relations between verbal, vocal, and kinesic signals in speech. 'n Vergelyking van teenstrydige standpunte in prosodiese navorsing die afgelope paar dekades toon aan dat taalkundiges nog steeds verskil oor hoe prosodie as vakgebied benader behoort te word en oor waar prosodiese ontleding in linguistiese teorie en taalonderrig behoort te pas. Verskeie grondliggende geskilpunte bly onopgelos, byvoorbeeld of prosodie 'n waarnemings- of introspektiewe kenmerk van spraak is, of dit kognitief of emosioneel gemotiveer is, of dit 'n sub-stelsel van taal of 'n onafhanklike vokale stelsel op sigself (in sy eie reg) is? Geiaentifiseerde paradokse wat spruit uit prosodiese navorsing op hierdie en ander terreine dui daarop dat dit noodsaaklik mag wees om te bepaal wat deur prosodiese aktiwiteite gekommunikeer word en hoe dit geskied. Dit sal 'n. voorvereiste vir verdere ondersoek na die verhouding tussen verbale, vokale en liggaamseine in spraak wees.